Summary: Jesus gives us POWER to overcome the reality of temptation
How to Have POWER Over Temptation
June 3, 2007
Mark was very poor at spelling. On examination day he was stumped by many difficult words. Softly the tempter whispered, "Look at Jane’s paper; she’s an honor student and always gets them right!" Mark heeded the suggestion and copied several answers. The teacher noticed his actions and was greatly surprised, for she had always thought of him as an honest boy. When it came time to collect the completed work, she observed that Mark was having an inner struggle. After bowing his head for a moment, he suddenly tore up his paper. Although at first he had yielded to temptation, he finally decided to take a zero rather than be dishonest. Calling the boy to her desk, the teacher said, "I was watching you, Mark, and I want you to know that I’m very proud of you for what you did just now. Today you really passed a much greater examination than your spelling test!"
Temptation is one of the universal issues that Christians deal with. The truth is that everyone deals with temptation on one level or another. If you believe that you are above being tempted, you’d better check your pulse because if you have one, you can be tempted.
Things that tempt us
• The juicy bit of gossip that you are dying to repeat
• The television show that you feel convicted about watching but keep watching anyway
• The snide remark that is on the tip of your tongue for your co-worker
• The co-worker or neighbor that you like to flirt with
Anything that dulls our desire for God, to us it is sin - Susanna Wesley
This morning I want to look at a passage where Jesus dealt with the issue of temptation on a personal basis. If you have your Bibles open them to Matthew 4:1-11.
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." 4 Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ " 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " `He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ " 7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ " 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." 10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: `Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ " 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Matthew 4:1-11
Honestly Talking about Temptation
Satan knows where and when the right moments to bring temptation to a person. When Satan came to Jesus he believed it was a time when He would be more susceptible to it. Notice what Satan saw that made this time a good one to target Jesus.
Jesus was in the wilderness alone without the support of anyone except God. Satan will target times when we feel like we are alone to tempt us. When we try to do things on our own, we get into trouble.
Jesus would have been under an amount of emotional stress by being in the wilderness. The Judean wilderness was not a hospitable place to be. Not only was in the wilderness, He was there fasting.
Jesus would have been physically vulnerable. This is why the first temptation dealt with physical needs. Satan not only tempted Jesus but tempted Him in the right areas at the right time. The strategy that Satan used was to focus on real needs and then place doubts about those needs in God’s ability.
13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15
How to have POWER over temptation